2009 – Harvey and Betsy Kellogg

It would seem that these two individuals were a perfect match that was almost unequaled in their time. They both were involved with their family and the communities in which they lived and shared experiences in both. As was the custom in those days, Harvey was outwardly active in politics, the church, fraternal and other organizations, while Betsey although staying in the background exerted her influence by teaching, caring for the children of other families as well as her own, and becoming involved with community organizations exemplified by her work with the veterans of Battery H, 1st Ohio Volunteer Artillery (Civil) War). Many of her activities would have gone unnoticed if she had not written a memoir in the waning years of her life. That small document details the life of not only herself and her husband but a representative woman and family of the 19th century.
Born on November 13, 1813, in Canaan, Litchfield County, Connecticut, in what was called Farren House (a house built by one of her ancestors who was a Congregational minister); she was the daughter of Whiting Gaylord and Clarissa (Belden) Kellogg. Her mother died when she was not yet 4 years old, leaving herself and two other children to be raised by her father. She became an introverted individual possibly because of the lack of playmates and wandered the hills and woods around her home causing the neighbors to worry about her safety.
When she became a teenager, her thoughts turned to religion and at a church meeting saw her future husband, Harvey Kellogg, who was her 3rd cousin. They became members of the Congregational Church together with about 30 others in about 1827. Their beliefs remained the same throughout their life.
She attended an academy near a relative’s home and in 1831 began teaching at a country school six miles from home. That job did not last long and she was then hired in a factory painting clock faces for 60 cents a week which later increased to 75 cents then 1 dollar. The factory was about 30 miles from her home. She and 12 other girls boarded with her cousin and shared many unique experiences in their work and free time (they had half a day for washing, cleaning and sewing – Sundays were for worship all day).
Harvey and she must have seen each other through the years and when he went to New York to visit cousins and apply for a teaching job, she went with him probably along with others. They corresponded more after that journey and after agreed to be married on October 20, 1835. Both of them objected to having wine at the wedding reception and agreed that they would serve cold water instead. Betsey’s brother and a cousin served 5 pails of water to the guests.
Harvey’s older brother, Charles, offered them a home on the family farm, but it was small and Harvey thought it would be better to move west. On April 24, 1837, they began their journey, first by wagon to Albany, New York, where they embarked on a boat on the Erie Canal. She states that on arriving in Buffalo (the end of the canal) they then took another wagon to Erie, Pennsylvania, and then boarded a boat to travel across Lake Erie, arriving in Maumee at 11:00 in the evening. She must have felt like going back home when they landed since she describes the scene – “The Captain said all passengers must leave the boat we were set off in the dark on the wharf where there was no building. I think Maumee mud was about shoe mouth deep and very sticky…. while I tried to clean off the mud, but that was something I couldn’t do. It was like the old woman’s grease, it wouldn’t rub off when it got dry.”
They set up housekeeping in a cabin that was rented by the Coe family on land that Betsey and Harvey had bought. They boarded with them for a year until the rent agreement expired and she talks about the situations that occurred with the two families in one small cabin. She began teaching local children in her home and kept books for a library that had been bought for their church. During the following years they began taking in children whose families needed help and as more found out about the care they gave they were asked to take care of more. In her writings she tells about nine of them.
In 1855, Harvey’s parents needed help in Connecticut, so they rented out their farm and made the journey in a horse and sleigh. They had planned on going by wagon but it snowed so much that it was easier on the horses, so they started out with the idea that a wagon could be bought or exchanged for the sleigh if the snow ran out. They made it to the home farm in three weeks. She tells of not wanting to stay in taverns because of the drink being consumed, so they stopped at people’s houses and asked if they could spend the night in the barn. At times, they slept under the stars.
After returning to their home in what had now become Carey and later Adams Township, they lived a long life with their children beside them, and their activities continuing.
Harvey was born on January 19, 1813 in Canaan, Litchfield County, Connecticut, the son of Joseph and Martha (Beebe) Kellogg. He taught school for many years in what is now Adams Township, served as Justice of the Peace for over 15 years, and was Postmaster at Hickory in Adams Township for 7 years. In 1877, he was elected to the Ohio General Assembly on the National Party Ticket. He served on the Committee for Temperance and Unfinished Business. After 1883, he served many years as President of the Lucas County Sunday School Union, and was one of the Board of Trustees of the Women’s Christian Association of Adams Township.
Betsey and Harvey had 3 sons and 2 daughters – Joseph, James, Isaac, Emma and Addy.
Harvey died in 1896 at the age of 83 and Betsey in 1904 at the age of 91. She wrote her memoirs in 1898 when she was 85. They are both buried in Springfield Township Cemetery with other members of their family.
After her death, she and Harvey were honored by Battery H, 1st Ohio Volunteer Infantry for their participation in the welcoming home of those men after the Civil War. Because of their interest they were invited as members of the battery when reunions were started in 1874. One of their members, William Parmlee wrote this as the end of his tribute that was read at their meeting in Holland in 1905.

“Her kindly face and gentle tones will be missed, but they are firmly fixed in our memories. Such a life needs no Eulogy. If it did I am not equal to the making of it. Our memory of her is a gentle Saint who bore the care and burdens of life quietly but bravely. Her Sympathy was always a really genuine and helpful kind. The passing of Mother Kellogg comes very close to us all, yet we would not grieve but feel she has entered her Rest Above so loyally earned below.”